It is believed that before Christianity came to Britain people worshipped by an old tree sacred to Odin. With the coming of Missionaries from Rome, the first churches were built and dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul patron Saints of Rome. These churches were built near the sacred tree and so this district received the name of Peter's Tree or Pettistree. Over the years Pettistree has been spelt in various different ways: Pedestree, Petestre, Petistre, Petistree, Petrestre, Petristrel, Petrystree, Pettitre, Pistre, Pistreye, Pitestrey, Pittistree.
Edric the Grim and King Harold were the Lords of the Manor of Wickham and the hamlets of Pettistree, Bing, Loudham and Harpole before the Norman Conquest. Parts of ancient Pettistree (Bing) and Loudham are mentioned in the Domesday Book although the present village was a later development possibly due to a shifting population after one of the plagues. The dues of the Manor were paid to the Abbey at Campsea Ashe.
The old centres of population were around Loudham Hall Estate and Byng Hall Estate. Byng Hall is thought to have been a Roman settlement at one time as a brick kiln, pit and Roman tiles, some still unfired were discovered in 1846. The field in front of the present house was known as Market Field as a market or fair was granted there in 1253 to Sir Roger de Huntingfield. Later this was probably held in the churchyard adjacent to the Greyhound Inn. Stalls were erected against the walls, legal weights, beams and measures were kept by the priest within the church.